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Speculative commercial property development in the South West heralds return of economic confidence4th October 2013

Speculative commercial property development in the South West heralds return of economic confidence

Speculative development of office and industrial premises across the South West is the surest sign yet of returning economic confidence, according to Colliers International Bristol's logistics chief Tim Davies.

Tim, head of Colliers International’s Bristol office, said the long awaited return of speculative development in Bristol and beyond provided the clearest evidence yet that investors were prepared to return to the market – without having previously lined up owners or tenants for new buildings.

“Between 2006-2008 Bristol industrial markets saw 1.7 million sq ft of speculative completions. The comparable figure for 2009-2013 is just 150,000 sq ft. This means Bristol now has less than seven month’s supply of new or refurbished big shed accommodation.

“The Bristol industrial multi-let market is also seeing supply diminish. Availability of units under 10,000 sq ft has fallen by 19 per cent since 2010.
“Absorption of Grade A office space in Bristol has reached its highest level for three years and our latest office takeup figures suggest greater demand for more substantial floor spaces.”

Tim Davies said while flagging up their concerns over the dwindling supply of quality commercial accommodation Colliers International had never lost sight of the South West’s appeal as prime regional destination for inward investment outside of the capital.
And he said business people didn’t have to look far to see returning confidence in the commercial property sector.

“Looking out of my window I can see Skanska is working on a key office site on Queen Square in the heart of the city’s commercial district. Industrial land at Avonmouth is also being freed up for development.

“The sheer number of cranes along Bristol’s horizons is the surest sign yet we are entering a period of sustained growth. Inevitably as the market improves the existing building supply will be soaked up.”

“Developers brave and sufficiently well-funded enough to speculate will be best placed to take advantage of this new found confidence.”

Tim Davies has this week returned from a business conference in the United States of America where he said colleagues were showing new appetite to do business.

“Bristol and the South West as a whole is well positioned to take advantage of this upswing as the ripple effect spreads across the Atlantic – and also down the M4 from the capital.”

Tim said the widespread recovery in the residential housing market had underpinned the unexpectedly rapid recovery and was stimulating construction across other sectors.

“It’s clear the market is moving at a pace we haven’t seen since 2007. We have been trying to balance supply and demand without the benefit of any speculative development for years and it’s very encouraging to see businesses are once again prepared to take a punt on a new office building or industrial unit.”

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